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Eco-Agriculture Conservation Volunteer Project in Costa Rica

Eco-Agriculture Conservation Volunteer Project in Costa Rica

Love coffee and want to do Eco-Agriculture volunteering in Costa Rica’s Central Highlands? International Volunteer HQ’s Eco-Agriculture Conservation project gives volunteers the unique opportunity to learn about Costa Rica’s world-famous coffee industry first-hand. Volunteers work alongside a local coffee farming family to help improve the local harvest and implement sustainable, effective agricultural practices while also respecting local farming methods.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from £750 for 2 weeks
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Help local farmers with family-run coffee productions

  • Discover waterfalls, volcanoes and rainforests in Costa Rica

  • Get a taste of rural life by staying with a family in the Central Highlands

Key information

Promote sustainable farming practices
Based in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica
Local homestay accommodation
Volunteers aged 18+ and families
Fully hosted experience from £750 for 2 weeks
Durations from 2 - 24 weeks
Explore Costa Rica's Central Highlands
Up to 6 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Active volunteers who are interested in coffee production, sustainability and are willing to lend a hand with whatever tasks are required at the time.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Coffee beans from Costa Rica are recognised as being some of the best in the world and coffee has been a major industry and export for the country since the early 1800s. Past coffee farming practices led to large-scale deforestation and pollution of rivers and have now been outlawed by the Costa Rican government in a move towards a greener future.

The Eco-Agriculture Conservation project is an immersive permaculture experience where you’ll have a hands-on role in supporting a coffee farming family with all stages of production. Volunteers can help implement sustainable, effective practices that help regenerate the environment and combat climate change while also respecting local farming methods.

As an Eco-Agriculture volunteer you’ll need to help out wherever you’re needed and duties will changed depending on the season, but often tasks include:

  • Harvesting coffee beans
  • Roasting and packaging coffee beans
  • Composting
  • Replanting
  • Clearing grounds for planting

Please note, there is a minimum duration requirement of 2 weeks for this project.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

As job losses escalate as a result of Covid-19, it is estimated that nearly half of the global workforce is at risk of losing their livelihoods. We must improve access to jobs, decent work conditions and community services in order to achieve peace, sustainable economic growth and a better quality of life for all.

Why do Eco-Agriculture volunteering in Costa Rica with IVHQ?

When you volunteer on a coffee farm in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Supporting sustainable farming practices
  • Learning about coffee production
  • Practicing your Spanish and helping locals to learn English
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining farming experience
  • Immersing yourself fully in the Costa Rican culture
  • Discovering the natural beauty of Costa Rica’s Central Highlands

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply For Free

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

AT
Arnold Teixeira
29 Feb 2024

The program gave me a better perspective into my life and reawakened some capabilities I had forgotten about. My Spanish improved tremendously, as both host families spoke little English. Learning about how other cultures live is not always comfortable but it provides you with a better understanding about who you are as a person and how much we ALL have in common.

...
MF
Mallee Fowler
08 Nov 2023

I gained this new sense of awareness of how living a humble life is rewarding in many ways. That locals and farmers genuinely find passion and love in their everyday life and work. Seeing this from an outside perspective brings joy and inspiration to do so in your own personal life. You will be challenged in your own ways, maybe adapting to a lifestyle, learning a new language, feeling a bit out of place, or missing familiar connections and conversation, but all of this is a part of self-growth and in the end, you will be proud of yourself.

...
JB
Jenny Black
16 Aug 2022

My favourite part of volunteering was getting stuck in to the physical work of digging and raking paths for the coffee tours! My advice? Do it, you won't regret it at all! You'll learn so much about yourself, about the world and about different cultures.

...
PR
Paola Rincon Gallardo
10 Aug 2022

I love that every meal at The Coffee plantation was harvested from there, so they were organic meals. You're not going to regret it! So take the chance.

...
NR
Nathalie Rossi
18 Nov 2021

This was the best experience ever - just in a week I feel like such a changed person for the better. I was very nervous when I first started but after going to orientation it took the weight off my shoulders. Everything was explained very well and they made sure to make me feel like I would be supported the entire time. At placement, every once in a while I was in the middle of the field planting some vegetables and I would look up and realize I’m in the middle of the rain forest and that was the coolest feeling ever.

...
RM
Rachel Miller
29 Jan 2021

I am beyond grateful to have taken this opportunity to volunteer with a group of individuals from around the world. I arrived at the volunteer house prepared for anything. This was a great mindset because my expectations were endless, not limited. We were stationed at a Coffee Bean farm and within the first day we learned about all 52 steps it takes to make a cup of coffee. We helped them expand the farmland near their home. We planted over 200 coffee bean plants in just two days! It was so rewarding to help with work that they could not have done on their own. Our host family was so passionate about their land/coffee farming. It made the experience even more valuable! The host family spoke very little to no English. This was not a problem, there was always someone nearby who knew both English and Spanish and could help communicate. I kept an open mind and stayed open to change, this was the best way to adapt to my unfamiliar surroundings and get to know the people around me. Very quickly, the strangers I just met felt like family.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit
Volunteer Abroad in Costa Rica San Jose with IVHQ

Location

IVHQ’s Eco-Agriculture Conservation project is based in the Central Highlands of Costa Rica about four hours from the capital city of San José. The rural area is full of coffee plantations, forests, volcanoes and other natural wonders which make a stunning backdrop for volunteer work and offer many opportunities for adventure.

Arrival and orientation

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José on the Sunday before your start date. When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and taken to the volunteer accommodation in San José. This is included in your Program Fee.

As Eco-Agriculture volunteers you will stay in San Jose on your first night and then take a bus to your placement location; this is included in the Program Fee (as is your return to the local team’s office in San Jose at the conclusion of the program).

If you are travelling in Costa Rica prior to your program, you can meet the local team in San José on the Sunday before your program starts.

Orientation will be held in San José and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Costa Rica – an introduction to Costa Rica, its customs, language training details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Costa Rica, and an introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.

Volunteer schedule example

Weekdays - A typical schedule might look like this:

7:00 AM Breakfast with your host family and walk to the project site.
9:00 AM Volunteer work begins. Depending on the season you may be picking or roasting coffee beans, digging and preparing the farm for planting, or working with farm animals.
12:00 PM Lunch and a long break.
3:00 PM Continue volunteer work.
6:00 PM Volunteer work ends. Get driven back to your host family for dinner.

Weekends

Volunteers on the Eco-Agriculture Conservation project have weekends off to explore the area or relax. The more rural nature of these placements mean there are fewer city conveniences and entertainment options. Instead you can visit Costa Rica’s cloud forests where you might find thousands of different kinds of wildlife and several hundred species of birds and plants, hike up Costa Rica’s tallest mountains, see a plethora of breath-taking waterfalls or enjoy the authentic charm of smaller towns and villages.

Accommodation and WiFi

You’ll get to experience a true cultural immersion experience in a homestay hosted by a local farming family. Conditions in these remote locations are basic but comfortable. Bed linen is provided but you will need to bring your own towel and toiletries. You can typically expect to share a bedroom with 2 - 4 other volunteers of the same gender. Washrooms are shared by all volunteers, and have flush toilets and cold water showers. Due to the tropical environment you can also expect a variety of critters (insects, spiders, etc.) to be present.

WiFi is unavailable at the Eco-Agriculture Conservation site, so we recommend purchasing a local SIM card for an unlocked mobile phone during your program orientation in San José if you want to keep connected.

Meals

Volunteers on the Eco-Agriculture Conservation project are served three meals a day. These will be mainly traditional Costa Rican style dishes and light vegetarian meals like:

  • Rice, beans and plantains are common
  • Eggs, toast, cereal
  • Fruit and vegetables on occasion
  • Gallo pinto, casado and fried cheese are common traditional dishes

Breakfast can include toast, cereal and eggs. Tea, coffee, and toast will be available throughout the day. Purified drinking water is also available; we do not recommend that you drink the tap water unless it has been boiled.

If you have special dietary requirements, please let us when you apply so that we can make arrangements for you. However, you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home and need to be as flexible as possible. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
2 weeks £751 Equivalent to £54/day
3 weeks £1054 Equivalent to £50/day
4 weeks £1328 Equivalent to £47/day
5 weeks £1569 Equivalent to £45/day
6 weeks £1810 Equivalent to £43/day
8 weeks £2291 Equivalent to £41/day
10 weeks £2773 Equivalent to £40/day
12 weeks £3255 Equivalent to £39/day
16 weeks £4218 Equivalent to £38/day
20 weeks £5181 Equivalent to £37/day
24 weeks £6144 Equivalent to £37/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £272) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in GBP.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Costa Rica generally find US$150 - US$200 per week to be sufficient for expenses. For Turtle Conservation and Eco-Agriculture projects, volunteers can bring less spending money as the location is remote and all meals will be provided.

Free-time experiences & tours in Costa Rica

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Costa Rica! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Costa Rica program.

Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio

Immerse yourself in Manuel Antonio’s stunning natural beauty and thrilling activities on this 6-day adventure

£763
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose

Embark on a full-day adventure exploring La Paz Waterfall Gardens, an animal sanctuary, and a Poas Volcano Tour, followrd by a Coffee Farm experience.

£182
Mini Adventure  - San Jose
Mini Adventure - San Jose

Experience a comprehensive 6-day Mini Adventure, featuring Arenal Volcano, the Britt Coffee Tour, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, whitewater rafting, and a visit to the pristine Tortuga Island.

£1040
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio
Beach and Jungle Mini Adventure - Manuel Antonio

Immerse yourself in Manuel Antonio’s stunning natural beauty and thrilling activities on this 6-day adventure

£763
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose
Coffee & Nature Experience - San Jose

Embark on a full-day adventure exploring La Paz Waterfall Gardens, an animal sanctuary, and a Poas Volcano Tour, followrd by a Coffee Farm experience.

£182
Zipline, Tarzan Swing and Superman Cable - San Jose
Zipline, Tarzan Swing and Superman Cable - San Jose

Experience an adrenaline-filled journey through Costa Rica’s lush rainforest on a heart-pounding canopy tour, featuring the “Tarzan Swing,” “Superman Cable,” and the “Elevator,” xperience an exhilarating journey through Costa Rica’s lush rainforest on a heart-pounding canopy tour, featuring the “Tarzan Swing,” “Superman Cable,” and the “Elevator”.

£119

Spanish language lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Costa Rica program, however, learning basic conversational Spanish will help you maximise the benefit of your program. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. Please note these lessons are not available on the Holiday Experience, Eco-Agriculture or Turtle Conservation projects.

San Jose Language Lessons:

  • 2-hour Small Group Classes: US$145 (approximately £120) per week
  • 1-hour Private Classes: US$225 (approximately £186) per week
  • 2-hour Private Classes: US$455 (approximately £377) per week

Check what's required to visit Costa Rica

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital San Jose
Population 5 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
Time zone UTC−06:00

Weather and climate: Costa Rica is unequivocally a tropical country. Although you get much cooler temperatures in the mountains, the average annual temperature for most of the country lies between 71°F (21.7°C) and 81°F (27°C). The coolest months are from November through to January, and the warmest months are from March through to May. San Jose stands at approximately 1170 meters altitude and has a mean annual temperature of 69°F (20.6°C).

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How to get started

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